Can our daughter get out of a lease due to rat infestation and mold? 5 Answers as of April 05, 2013

Our daughter who’s 25 and grandson 18mos recently moved into an apartment that obviously had rats! I am her mother and helped her clean the place up. This is her first time leasing on her own and the landlord convinced her to sign a 6mo instead of a mo to mo. As we were cleaning there were droppings that were obviously a rats and even found 2 large holes, 1 in closet corner and the other in the bottom of the pantry. I took it upon myself to patch up these holes hoping they couldn’t renter. Used steel wool and a stucco patch and put a broken tile that was propped up in front of both holes! Then put a bucket of water in front of the tile. Also calked tons of cracks and holes .Had put poison out first wick worked as a few days later a bad odor came. Our daughter called the landlord and he came with a handy man and began to rip the wall apart behind a built-in dresser and no rat but mold was exsposed. All while our daughter was there! We had taken our grandson home with us. After several hours of this and removing a window ac unit still no rat. In the end the handy man had called our daughter and informed her they had found more mold and he didn’t think it safe for her son or her to stay there. In private obviously! Also told her to call the health department and they did come out but the walls are no longer exposed but the smell is still there! We still have the grandson and she has been in a hotel for 3 nights now. The landlord is not cooperating so I am worried. He wanted to put them up in another unit but the health department said they have had numerous reports on this property so she just wants out! So now we think we have found her a place but meanwhile she has to stay in a hotel for a wk until the first of Feb and grandson is still with us. She works 2 hours away from us so not an option to stay here do to time and travel and gas. Sounds like she has a case right?

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Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
Absolutely!!! She should create and keep a paper trail. I recommend that she send a letter to the landlord and property manager restating the facts and informing them that she is moving due to inhabitability and health concerns for her and the child. In the letter, she should demand a return of her deposit and any rent paid. She should also warn the landlord against doing anything to damage her credit. If the landlord sues for breach of lease, she would counterclaim for damages and show all of her paperwork to the court. She also needs to keep copies of anything from the handyman, and keep his name and phone number. She may need to call him as a witness. Finally, you and she should each write out a log containing dates, name, activities, etc. Memories fade over time.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 1/28/2013
Law Offices of Sandeep G. Agarwal
Law Offices of Sandeep G. Agarwal | Sandeep G. Agarwal
Yes - sounds like the property is uninhabitable.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2013
Law Offices of Mark West
Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
It sounds like your daughter does have a case for constructive eviction, based upon the landlord not providing a habitable living space. You could contact an attorney to write a letter and try to deal with the landlord and see if the landlord will cancel the lease, or if necessary, file a lawsuit to break the lease.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2013
Rod A. Dunlap & Asociates, PLC
Rod A. Dunlap & Asociates, PLC | Rod Dunlap
The case would be for constructive eviction. The problem is that she is under a signed lease, and the landlord's behavior may be treated as mitigation of damages. We could represent your daughter to negotiate out of the lease or to sue for damages. In either event, the fee would be $205 per hour.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/25/2013
Winnick Ruben Hoffnung Peabody & Mendel, LLC | Daniel N. Hoffnung
Yes Talk to the housing enforcement officer
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 4/5/2013
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